Tourism insiders seek ways to attract more foreigners to Vietnam hinh anh 1Terraced rapeseed fields in Che Cu Nha commune of Mu Cang Chai district, the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Tourism managerial agencies and travel companies suggested measures to attract more foreign tourists to Vietnam at a meeting in Hanoi on August 3.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Ha Van Sieu said Vietnam has recorded vigorous tourism growth in recent years and is shifting its focus to the industry’s quality, efficiency, competitiveness and sustainability so as to turn tourism into a spearhead sector.

The country welcomed more than 10 million foreign tourists in 2016, rising by 26 percent from 2015 and double the figure of 2010. It recorded 417 trillion VND (18.3 million USD) in tourism revenue from foreign tourists last year.

About 7.25 million foreigners visited Vietnam in the first seven months of 2017, up 28.8 percent year-on-year.

Sieu said the tourism sector aims to raise the numbers of foreign and domestic tourists by 30 percent and 12 percent, respectively, this year.

Tourism promotion has been expanded both at home and abroad. It is also being enhanced online, he noted, adding that millions have accessed the country’s tourism websites.

Travel agencies have also made use of major events such as APEC Year 2017, 2016 Asian Beach Games, the UPU letter writing competition, Da Nang International Fireworks Festival and Hue Festival to popularise Vietnam.

However, the official also admitted shortcomings in tourism promotion, especially coordination among domestic and foreign parties. Poor communications activities, simple tourism publications and products and few market surveys have hampered the country’s attractiveness to foreigners.

[Vietnam welcomes more than 7.2 million foreign visitors in seven months]

At the meeting, representatives of managerial agencies, travel firms, hotels and other businesses pointed out some reasons for the industry’s shortcomings, including that the functions of State management and tourism promotion have yet to be separated, modest State funding for promotion activities (about 30-40 billion VND, or 1,3-1.7 million USD, each year) and inappropriate public-private partnership mechanisms.

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai suggested establishing centres specialising in tourism promotion in localities.

He also asked provinces and cities to combine tourism and trade promotion activities, work with Vietnam’s overseas cultural centres to organise effective promotion events and optimise social networks in the work.-VNA